In short, Colette had outdone herself. When Leila had commissioned her for a dress, she’d been purposely vague, asking only that it be a pink to which she could match her hair. She had wanted to see what the young designer could do, as a sort-of-test for their hopeful collaboration. Much to Leila’s delight, every expectation (and then some) had been met and outdone.
The pale pink fabric of Leila's dress seems to glow in the soft candlelight. Long, billowing sleeves lead up to a wide neckline, which then flows down to a tapered waist. The skirt's many overlapping layers are the newly opened petals of a flower as they glide along the ground, and the accompanying kitten heels scarcely seem to make a sound.
To thank the seamstress, Leila is doing the best she can to show off the incredible workmanship. When she had arrived - a little early, as polite company dictates - she had laid claim to a seat towards the center of the room, in line with the stage. There, the eye is naturally drawn towards where the lights seem to shine a little more brightly. As she flits among the other guests, she keeps an eye turned to the door, hoping to invite Colette into the limelight she had seized. In the meantime, she contents herself with greeting old acquaintances and friends, and begins to peer through the unfamiliar faces in search of possible new connections.
»»——————— ❁ ———————««
Max already wants to leave. She’s been there all of thirty, forty minutes maximum, and the high-brow atmosphere makes her want to crawl out of her skin. The gilded black romper and ridiculous knee-high boots certainly aren’t helping, and although the familiar bomber jacket somewhat grounds her, it's the steady stream of lavish finger foods that convinces her to stay a bit longer.
Snagging another glass of undoubtedly overpriced champagne, she makes her way back to the table she had chosen, as close to the door as she could get. She had flippantly disregarded any sign of assigned seats, but no one has tried to convince her to move. Or maybe they had. Who cares.
She tilts up the Venetian-style half-mask that covers her lower face, downing the glass in a practiced tilt of her head. It joins its fallen brethren on the table, and the mask slips smoothly back into place. With a quiet groan, she slumps back in her seat slightly and massages the bridge of her nose. This is going to be a long night.
»»——————— ☼ ———————««
Adam had been dubious, to say the least, when the invitation first arrived. A New York masquerade invitation addressed to Yeehaw, West Texas? When pigs fly. He immediately dismissed what was undoubtedly a prank by one of his sisters (probably Eva) and threw it into the growing pile of junk mail on the foot of his bed. However, the next day, his mother was abruptly summoned to her company’s headquarters in New York. Strangely enough, the hotel they had booked for her was nearly an hour from the headquarters, and scarcely a ten-minute walk from the invitation’s address. Adam tagged along with her, and he took one of his father’s suits, just to humor the nagging feeling of importance the letter emanated. As the date neared, Adam’s sense of unease grew.
Now, he stands down the street from a horribly run-down hotel, questioning his life decisions. He worries an absent finger over the skull detailing of his half-mask, hands crossed contemplatively over his chest. Just when he decides to head back and forget about the entire ordeal, the *click* of heels alerts him to the presence of a finely dressed couple. For a moment, their matching red-and-black figures hesitate outside the ramshackle building, seemingly as baffled as he by its appearance. He almost laughs as the male hastily catches the dropped suit jacket, but their sobering presence confirms the validity of the invitation. Adam fixes his gaze on the woman as she walks up to the hotel, glances briefly at the number by the door, and vanishes - literally vanishes - into the doorway. The blue-headed man follows suit, disappearing similarly as he crosses the door frame.
A pause, and Adam slowly makes his way over to hover in front of the hotel. He hesitates, then steps through entrance. The room transforms, and his eyes widen in disbelief at the opulence that unveils itself. Glad of the mask and sapphire-and-black suit that lends him some semblance of anonymity, he slinks over to a corner and surveys the room.
»»——————— ✣ ———————««